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The Bold Frontier Mass Market Paperback – September 1, 2001
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"The best historical novelist of our time." Patricia Cornwell
From the Back Cover
Patricia Cornwell hails New York Times bestselling author John Jakes as "the best historical novelist of our time", with such epics as the Crown Family Saga, the Kent Family Chronicles and the North and South Trilogy. But Jakes is also a prolific short fiction writer. This special edition of one of his all-time classic collections includes a new introduction from the author -- and three additional stories set against the untamed territory of the American West.
These tales capture the glory and suffering of the men and women of the era -- from a strange saloon shootout and a trapper seeking vengeance against a fur company to double-crossing outlaws and a duel between medicine men. John Jakes's thrilling stories span the legacy -- and fuel the imagination -- of the American frontier.
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Those who know John Jakes know that he’s well known for his historical fiction accounts. He’s written several well-known collections of books as well as self-standing novels that tend to deal with some part of the history of the United States – usually from the 1600s to the mid-1900s. His emphasis tends to focus mainly on the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and he seems to favor tales about the American Civil War. So much so, that whenever I pick up a new book by him that focuses on the Civil War, I’m a bit disappointed. There’s only so many different tales you can tell using that calamity as a backdrop that it seems like he repeats himself too often. One area that Jakes never focused on too much when telling stories of America’s history, was the Old West.
So this book lets him explore this genre. Again, though, there’s an awful lot here. Every Old West cliché is written about. We have the cowboys, the Indians, the widowed sheriffs, the riverboat gamblers, the trappers, the prostitutes with the heart of gold etc. He leaves no stone unturned. I should also point out that, if I’m not mistaken, these are not all “new” stories, yet ones that he’s written over his lifetime. I never compared notes after each story, but some of these tales did come across as a bit pretentious. There were a few stories that lasted around 15 pages and the author seemed to try to wrap things up a bit too neatly in an attempt to leave the reader satisfied, or rather…happy.
Still, though, I enjoyed the vast majority of the pieces here. It’s probably too late for me to wish such a thing (Jakes is 82 years old as I write this), but reading these stories make me wish that Jakes would write an entire novel around the old west, or maybe even a series of books.
Think of Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove series, and you have an idea of what John Jakes is capable of when he tells a story.
This was an overall nice diversion from what readers have come to expect.